Posts Tagged ‘winter’

Oops.

Friday, December 4th, 2015

So another month has passed and I am now three months into My Life in Manchester Part II. Every day I think “I should write a blog post” and then I do the copious amounts of uni work and work-work instead. I have decided to take a little time out to write about little old me again. I miss writing my blog posts and I’m certain you miss reading them. Ha!

Uni is seriously great. Never before have I been so excited about the fact that I have to write a 6000 word essay. It would appear that studying something that you actually love is really rewarding and inspiring – even if it does involve group work. My poor group members have had to deal with “grumpy old Jess” as their team leader and have had to learn what my frowning face means. Next Saturday, however, the class pop-up exhibition that we have been working on for the last semester is going to happen. I’m terrified – there is huge potential it is going to be dreadful. However, I am lowering my expectations so that I will be pleasantly surprised, and anyone who is planning on visiting the exhibition should do the same.

rain

Rainy day blues

Winter has been trying to arrive over the last couple of week. It has been raining a lot which doesn’t do much for moral – lucky the Christmas markets are on! Not. I have managed to escape them this year as I no longer live in the centre of town. Saying that, I did manage to find some festive cheer the other Saturday and I bought myself a hot, giant stroopwafel. It made me love Christmas just a little bit.

I really shouldn’t leave this blog writing for so long because I have lots of things to talk about but my inner professional writing nerd knows that no one really wants to read long blog posts. So I’m going to go now. I promise to write again soon.

As Darkness Descends

Saturday, November 16th, 2013

It is dark outside, it must be dinner time. Oh no, wait a tick, it’s only 4.30pm.

Winter has well and truly arrived in the UK with biting winds, dropping temperatures and an extreme lack of sunlight. The sun set today at 4.12pm, which completely messes with my head and my stomach. For some reason, a lack of sunshine makes my stomach start gurgling and requesting an evening meal. It doesn’t appreciate or realise that it has only just eaten lunch and needs to wait another three hours before being fed. No wonder British supermarkets have such a large supply of snack options.

The leaves on trees throughout the city have been turning over the last few months, creating amazing colour displays in parks and along streets. The soggy accumulated leaves are less pleasant, particularly when they hide large puddles of water that your feet seem to be magnetically drawn to.

Red.

Even trees come in my favourite colour.

Marathon Training Run #4

Monday, January 28th, 2013

As I am attempting to keep myself accountable I am informing everyone that I completed my Marathon Training Run #4 on Friday morning. More perceptive readers may notice that there never was a Number Three because it was snowed out. Last week I could finally return to my normal morning runs on Tuesday after having gone slowly mad from my inability to exercise since the previous Friday. My legs sang with joy as I finally left my house and dodged piles of snow and patches of ice on the footpaths.

Friday morning wasn’t exactly warm. In fact, it was -4 degrees when I left home. Two hours and 21 kilometres later I returned home, still cold. The problem with running in the cold is that while your body heats up, your extremities don’t and the poor circulation in my hands and feet meant they were ready to fall off despite being gloved and socked. The cold air is also just a lot harder to breathe, making it harder to run. At least, this is the excuse I like to tell myself as I returned home having only completed 21 kilometres and feeling like it was 20 kilometres too many.

The cold air also makes my muscles much tighter and I get sorer quicker. I don’t know how people run in countries where it is cold all winter. I was surprised by the number of people who continued to run in Paris despite the snow and slippery ice – I attempted it on Monday morning and got half way down the street and realised it was a stupid, stupid idea, returned home and did laps up and down under the verandah (haha… verandah. How Australian of me.)

There has been a visible increase in the number of joggers over the last few weeks. While I am normally the only person stupid enough to run through Paris, there are lots of people training for the half-marathon in March and the full marathon in April. It is nice to see other people out running, although I find it funny how most of them have shiny new shoes that have clearly never been worn out on the streets of Paris before. My previously white shoes have a very strong tint of Paris-Black to them.

It’s All White

Sunday, January 20th, 2013

Wow. As I sit at my dining table/writing desk/printing space/dump-stuff-area writing this, I keep having to look up and stare out of the window. Outside Parc de Villemin (aka my backyard) is white. Completely and utterly white. Well there are patches of grey and brown and a little hint of green, but it’s 88 per cent white.

You may or may not have heard that it snowed last night à Paris and this time the snow has stuck around for us to enjoy the next day. It started snowing at about 5.30pm yesterday and continued all night. I returned home from a housewarming party at 1.30am and walked through snow-covered streets, past snow-covered cars and bikes, and dodging snow balls flung by teenage boys. It was astonishingly beautiful. This morning when I woke up, I sat up in bed, looked over my mezzanine wall and out through the window, hoping hoping HOPING for all of my fairy-tale dreams and wishes to come true. Would I wake up to discover Paris covered in snow?

Yes!

Bonjour Paris!

Bonjour Paris!

I am so glad my apartment looks out onto a park because the view into the trees and snow covered garden beds is significantly more attractive than looking out onto Gare de L’Est and the big intersection out of the front which is covered in black slush and just looks soggy and dirty. But not the park! I wouldn’t be surprised if I saw Bambi prancing about in the snow.

One of the greatest things about snow in Paris is that everything slows down – people walk slower (or don’t go outside at all which is even more pleasant), cars drive more carefully and when there’s no traffic about there is that gentle muffled quiet that snow brings. It’s as if Paris is wearing a pair of giant earmuffs. The snow is slowly starting to melt but they expect another front to come through tonight and it should be even whiter tomorrow morning. Apparently I am very lucky to see this as Paris doesn’t usually get this much snow. I’m fairly certain it has been my positive thoughts and extreme obsession with seeing snow in Paris that has created this phenomenon. The citizens of this city can thank me later.

Amazingly pretty by the canal. There was no one in the tourist boat by the way.

Amazingly pretty by the canal. There was no one in the tourist boat by the way.

The strange thing, for me at least, is that Parisians don’t seem to know what to do with snow. They certainly weren’t prepared for its arrival and now that it is here, there isn’t the instant cleanup that I would have expected. Instead I have seen a lot of men in green uniforms, who would usually be hosing dog poo off footpaths with a high-pressure water sprayer, walking around with wheelbarrows full of salt and unidentifiable black stones and scattering them on the ground. This morning an overweight man with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth was attempting to push a salt-scatterer along the paths in the park and was having great difficulty controlling the machine in the few centimetres of snow on the ground. Canadians must find this very amusing.

The lack of clean up has meant that I couldn’t do my 20 kilometre training run this morning (quel domage!) Actually it was weirdly upsetting and so I decided to postpone it until tomorrow morning but the current forecast suggests I will just be disappointed again. I am discovering my brain is very messed up in that it gets upset that I can’t go for a run because there is TOO MUCH SNOW on the ground. Right… Ok, time to go and throw snow balls.

My friend Chuck taught me how to make snow balls of death. Now that I think about it, maybe it was Chuck Norris...

My friend Chuck taught me how to make snow balls of death. Now that I think about it, maybe it was Chuck Norris…

Snow Keeps Falling on My Head

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, I have an announcement to make. I, Jessica Davies, after two years of patient waiting, a few tears and much disappointment, can finally say that I have danced in the snow in Paris. Well, maybe not danced, but jumped up and down excitedly with a HUGE grin on my face. It has been one of my strange obsessive dreams to see snow falling in Paris, and while a few weeks ago it apparently did snow, I didn’t see it happening and it was pathetic snow that I decided not to count it. Last year I missed the snow completely as I had returned to Perth to renew my visa and was in 40 degree heat while it was snowing here. This year I refused to let this happen again and waited like a stubborn mule for the snow to arrive.

And arrive it did! In big fluffy white flakes that turned my black winter jacket into leopard print. It was a bit soggy and I did get quite wet standing outside staring happily up into the sky, watching the snow fall in the street light. But I felt like a five year old waking up on Christmas morning – I was so ridiculously happy.

The snow has melted but yesterday there were more brief appearance of snow and twice I had snow randomly fall on my head whilst walking outside. Now THAT is exciting stuff!

Snow by the canal

Snow by the canal

YAY! SNOW!

YAY! SNOW!

New Friends

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

It is a glorious morning in Paris today – crisp, cold and clear skies with the sun glistening off the frosty ground and trees. The birds are loving it, and I have just had some delightful visitors on my windowsill. I had to quickly close my window as one stuck his head inside but these little guys have been busy flittering about in the park and on my rather dead plants.

bird

Bonjour petit oiseau!

I hope they come and visit again soon.

 

La Neige

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

Friday morning saw scatterings of white stuff on car windows, roof tops and lawned areas. It had apparently snowed earlier that morning, although it was a typical Parisian attempt – just enough effort to say it was done, but nothing more. I went for a run through the centre of Paris and learnt a lot about what road surfaces are more slippery than others and that my concept of large bodies of water maintaining a higher heat level and therefore bridges being not slippery is COMPLETELY WRONG. In fact, it is the complete opposite! All of the bridges across the Seine were covered in a solid block of ice and I had to use my exceptional ice-skating skills to get to the other side. Luckily, my ice-skating skills = sticking as close to the edge as possible so that I can grab hold of something before I fall over, which is exactly what needed to be done in the bridge crossing attempts.

My other interesting discovery was when I reached the Tuileries and thought, “Oh, it’s that sandy limestone stuff. It will be soggy but not slippery.” Again, WRONG! The ground was covered in puddles of water that had frozen and so the garden was a giant ice rink. I had to get across one large section of icy sand near the Louvre and I must have looked like a duck-footed camel, loping across while avoiding puddles.

Having spent the last two years asking the weather Gods to send me snow in Paris, they finally did and I was extremely disappointed. So I am asking again. Only this time do it properly please.

Snow in Paris

It had melted a bit when I took this photo but still. That doesn’t count as snow.

Before the Paris Sun

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

I have never had that much trouble getting up in the mornings. I am a morning person rather than night – after 9.30pm I am useless, often grumpy and I generally want to be in my pyjamas with a cup of tea and a good book. However, since coming back from Portugal things have changed.

Most mornings my alarm goes off at 7.15am (so not even THAT early) and I go for a run along the canal. During summer this is the perfect time to be out as there is a beautiful golden sun glow on the canal water and most Parisians are lazy and sleep in so it is nice and quiet. This morning when my alarm went off I thought it was a joke. It was pitch black. Even after waiting an extra 15 minutes in the hope that there was just a very thick cloud covering the sun it was still dark. No sun at all.

As I stepped outside, Gare de L’Est was glittering with street lights and neon signs, yet there was so much action. There were people on their way to work, clearly used to this ridiculous lack of light at this time of the day at this time of the year. Running on uneven footpaths, dodging Parisians and avoiding dog poo when there is little light is difficult. But remarkably enjoyable. The lack of light meant I ran further than I had planned, as a bridge covered in a neon “Cabaret Sauvage” pulled me along and encouraged me to do that extra kilometre. It was a bonus that it wasn’t cold – I’m not sure how I will go when winter sets in and the mornings start to become cold as well as dark. Then there’s the rain. And then the snow. I’ve never run in snow before. Not sure how smart an idea that is.

I realise I haven’t told you about my running buddy and my amazing running achievement pre-Portugal. Recently I have been joined on my morning runs by my friend Becky (another resident at the Récollets.) Having someone to run with makes the time go so much faster and stops me from slacking off. We set ourselves the ULTIMATE CHALLENGE of running to the Eiffel Tower one morning. We planned a week in advance – Becky worked out a direct yet scenic route and I just mentally prepared myself for a slow and painful death.

To be honest it was kind of disappointingly easy. We saw the Eiffel Tower after running just two kilometres and we were there within seven. We decided to add a detour in order to make it a decent length run, feeling that tiny Paris had let us down. Our epic run that was supposed to impress and awe the world had turned into being shorter than our usual morning jogs. Still, it sounds impressive and we did get to stand underneath the Eiffel Tower at 8.30am with no tourists around (although they were starting to arrive!)

Run to the Eiffel Tower route

Time: 54mins; Distance: 8.91km; Calories burnt: 635

We contemplated running back home but I had an early morning appointment so instead we caught the metro. It was rather funny riding the metro through Paris stinking out the tiny carriage as poor Parisians looked on in horror and disbelief at our red faces and sweat patches. It definitely isn’t the “done thing” and we broke every rule in the Parisian style manual. We spoke loudly in English to reassure the locals that it was foreigners partaking in this strange act and no one they were associated with.